Balance was a beautiful thing for the Mission San Jose High girls golf team at Tuesday's California Interscholastic Federation Championships.
The Warriors placed third at Red Hill Country Club in Rancho Cucamonga, matching the best showing ever by a Northern California team.
One year after placing fourth in its state debut, Mission San Jose had a five-player score of 439. NorCal team champion Foothill placed fifth at 452.
"There's always one player stepping up big for us, which has helped us advance," said Warriors coach Jason Cain, who will have his entire squad back next season.
Torrey Pines-San Diego won the team title handily with a score of 401. Diamond Bar (420) was second, and Mission San Jose beat fourth-place Palm Desert (440) by a stroke.
Minjia Luo of Torrey Pines was the individual medalist with an even-par 74 on the tough course with fast, sloping greens.
As usual, Monica Chen led the Warriors with a 9-over 83, but Mission San Jose got a lift from Amy Huang (85) and Emily Rotter (87), who finished second and third on the team. Granada was the first NorCal team to place third at state, in 2009 at Poppy Hills.
When Mission won the North Coast Section Tournament of Champions team title on Oct. 29 in Windsor, balance prevailed. Chen shot a 69, Meridith Hirsch 77, Rotter 78, Amy Huang 81, Emily Gosti 85 and Renee Yen 89.
Foothill, which surged in the postseason under new coach Ashley Kettmann, didn't have its best day. But Falcons standouts Alex Sborov (80) and her sister Katie (81) were solid again.
"Obviously, it wasn't how we hoped to finish, but we made it to state and it was an accomplishment in itself," Kettmann said. "We had a great season, and I'm proud of each and every one of them."
Amador Valley junior Kimberly Liu, the East Bay Athletic League MVP, shot an 84.
The Warriors were disappointed with their scores before learning that the competition also struggled with the tough pin placements. Cain said many players shot eight strokes higher than normal.